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Negligence Cases

Automobile Accident

How much is my auto accident case worth?
This question is difficult to answer as it depends on many factors:

· If someone else’s negligence caused the auto accident and resulted in injuries, one of our lawyers can help you obtain any payment you are entitled to for your medical bills plus compensation for pain and suffering. This would include past and future medical bills.
· If you were seriously injured and missed time from work, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages or loss of earning capacity in the future. Our proven Miami, Florida auto accident lawyers can help you retain such compensation.
There is no proven formula to determine exactly how much a case is worth. It will depend on how the evidence and testimony dictate the case. Because of our record of trying these types of cases, our firm is able to determine a general value for your claim. One of our Miami, Florida auto accident lawyers will obtain medical records and bills and will analyze the client’s condition since the injury in order to provide an estimated value.

Can I choose my own repair shop?
You have the absolute right to decide who will repair your vehicle, provided the repair shop is licensed, should the insurance company choose to repair the car. Many insurance companies will evaluate the cost of repairing your car separately and independently from any repair shop. The insurance company will then work with the repair shop of your choice, to get your car repaired.
Do I have to purchase any extra insurance on the rental car?
The insurance company will not pay for extra insurance you purchase from the car rental company. Your own insurance carrier should cover you while driving the rental car. Call your insurance agent to be sure you are covered while driving the rental car.

Does my auto insurance cover my motorcycle accident?
Many motorcycle owners believe that they will be covered by their automobile insurance if they are involved in a crash. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In Florida, insurance is not required for the owner and rider of a motorcycle. Furthermore, the PIP coverage a motorcycle owner may have on his car will not cover the owner if injured on a motorcycle. Our Miami, Florida auto accident lawyers can help answer more of your questions concerning motorcycle accidents.
Does my insurance company have to use new parts to repair my car?
The insurance company is obligated to restore your vehicle to the same condition it was in before the accident. Because your car was probably not new, the mechanic may use refurbished or reconditioned parts. Sometimes this requires the use of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts and sometimes after-market parts can be used. After-market parts are parts made by a manufacturer other than the original manufacturer. If your vehicle is being repaired with newer parts, your company doesn’t have to pay for this “betterment.” For example, if your vehicle’s transmission is five years old and is damaged due to a covered loss, your insurer would only have to replace it with a five-year-old transmission. If a five-year-old transmission can’t be found, the repair shop could use a new transmission but you’d have to pay the difference between the value of a five-year-old transmission and a new transmission.
How do I prove what damage was caused by the accident?
The first step if you have been involved in an automobile accident is to report the claim to the insurance company of the driver who caused the wreck. It is important to remember there are essential measures that must be taken next to promptly preserve evidence, and the accident must be investigated thoroughly and injuries evaluated.

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of an automobile accident, call Silverstein & Silverstein now at 305-373-9091. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don’t delay. You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires. Below are some commonly asked questions.

The insurance company will sometimes claim that some damage to your car existed before the accident. Similarly, accidents often generate mechanical malfunctions. Determining if a mechanical problem was caused by the wreck or by normal wear and tear can be difficult. Therefore, it is important that you prove the connection between the auto accident and the damage you are claiming. Mechanics and body repair persons can help you determine the age of body damage or the cause of a mechanical failure, and they can help you convince the insurance company that the auto accident caused the damage.

How is the fair market value of my car calculated?
Insurance companies usually determine fair market value by referring to the “Blue Book” or a similar publication. Other sources of information are the local newspaper or the Auto Trader, which may list the for-sale price of cars of the same make, model and years as yours. Occasionally, an expert vehicle appraiser is used to help prove the value of your vehicle. You are entitled to recover the “fair market value” or the “actual cash value” of your vehicle immediately before the accident.

If you owe more money on the loan for the car than the fair market value of the car, you are “upside down” on the loan. Unfortunately, if your vehicle is a total loss, the insurance company will not pay more money to you simply because you are “upside down” with your car loan. They are only obligated to pay the “fair market value” of your car.

How long can my insurance company take to settle my claim?
From the time your insurance company receives notice of the loss, they are allowed 30 calendar days to settle your first party claim. The time may be extended if you fail to cooperate with them or they need to conduct additional investigation, but the company must provide you with written notice explaining the reason if the claim settlement process takes longer than 30 days.

How long will it take to bring my auto accident case to a conclusion?
The complexity of the accident as well as the particular injuries sustained will determine the time frame of the outcome. We resolve our client’s cases based on an understanding of their current and future medical conditions. Once our law firm becomes involved, the average car or auto accident case is resolved within eight to 12 months.
I have full coverage, why am I not covered?
Full coverage, while it can mean a variety of things, does not automatically imply that bodily injury is covered. Contact your insurance company for clarification on your insurance coverage.

What are the MMI and permanent impairment rating?
At the conclusion of your treatment with a doctor, our Miami, Florida car and motorcycle accident lawyers will request a final narrative of your condition. Once a physician has decided you are at Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), some doctor’s assign, and insurance company’s request, a permanent impairment rating. It does not mean that you are back to the physical or mental condition you were at prior to the accident. It simply means your condition has stabilized and you have a loss. This is generally done pursuant to American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines. A permanent impairment rating technically is not called for as a basis at trial in an automobile case, but many automobile insurance companies like to have the impairment rating so they can evaluate the case.
What other damages can I expect the adjuster to pay?
You had to pay sales tax, a tag fee and registration fees in addition to the price of the vehicle. You are entitled to be reimbursed for the prorated amount of these costs that are unused. The insurance company should reimburse you for the tag transfer fees and in some cases a prorated amount of sales tax on the actual cash value of the car at the time of the accident.
What should I do if I am in a car, auto, or motorcycle accident?
Following a car, auto, or motorcycle accident, it is important to call the police and seek medical treatment. Keep in mind that the shock of being in a collision may hide any pain until hours or even days later. Our Miami, Florida motorcycle and car accident lawyers have compiled a complete list of what to do after a car or auto accident. Most importantly, before you speak to the at-fault driver’s insurance company about your injury, contact an attorney to discuss your accident.
Who decides whether my car is repaired or replaced?
The insurance company normally has the sole option to either repair, replace or reimburse you for your car’s actual cash value (ACV). The amount your vehicle would have sold for on the date of the accident is the actual cash value and is usually a question of cost efficiency. When the vehicle is economically impractical to repair, your insurance company will elect to replace your vehicle or reimburse you for the ACV. If the cost to repair the vehicle equals or exceeds the vehicle’s ACV on the date of the loss, the vehicle is considered economically impractical to repair, or a total loss. In many instances an insurance company will total a vehicle if the appraised damages equal 80% of the vehicle’s ACV because often, once repairs are begun, additional damages or “hidden damages” are found which would render the vehicle a total loss by definition.
Who is responsible for towing and storage fees?
The insurance company for the driver who caused the accident normally will pay the reasonable towing and storage costs of your car. While determining whether your car is a “total loss,” they will continue to pay the storage costs. They will move the car from the repair shop to a wrecking yard or a free storage area if the insurance company declares the car a “total loss.” Before your car is moved, you will be called. You will have to pay the storage costs from the day of your refusal forward if you refuse to allow the insurance company to move your car. You can pay to have it towed to your home if you want to keep the vehicle.
Who pays for a rental car while my car is being repaired?
If you caused the accident, most policies don’t provide coverage for a rental vehicle unless you buy this additional coverage. If another party was responsible for the accident, the insurance company for the person who caused the wreck is required to provide you with a rental car. If the other driver is at fault, we will demand that the insurance company for the person who caused the accident provide you with a rental car for the time needed to repair your vehicle. Sometimes, you must pay the rental car bill first, with reimbursement coming from the insurance company later.

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October 31, 2012
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